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Family history of coronary heart disease and markers of subclinical cardiovascular disease: Where do we stand?

      Abstract

      Objective

      The goals of this systematic analysis are to determine the association between family history of coronary heart disease (CHD) and markers of subclinical cardiovascular disease as well as to discuss the inclusion of CHD family history in the frequently used coronary risk prediction algorithms.

      Background

      Individuals with a family history of CHD are at high risk for developing atherosclerosis and events related to CHD, regardless of the presence of other coronary risk factors. They form a target population that might benefit from primary prevention strategies; however, family history data is not a part of the frequently used risk prediction algorithms.

      Methods

      Medline and PubMed databases were searched for all studies evaluating the relationship between measures of subclinical atherosclerosis and family history of CHD, published till June 2010.

      Results

      Thirty-two studies met the above criteria and were included in this review. Coronary artery calcium, carotid intima thickness, vascular function, and inflammatory markers including C reactive protein, fibrinogen, and D-dimer were used as measures of subclinical atherosclerosis. Studies differed in design, demographic data of the population, techniques and validation of family history information. Most studies established a statistically significant relationship between the above markers and family history of CAD; further, the association was noted to be independent of traditional risk factors.

      Conclusion

      Family history of CAD is associated with markers of subclinical atherosclerosis, and this relationship remains statistically significant after adjusting for traditional risk factors. The above data suggest these individuals should be considered strongly as candidates for assessment of subclinical CVD to further refine risk and treatment goals.

      Keywords

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